The Drum Awards for Marketing - Entry Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Marketing Business Leadership Data & Privacy

‘Crutch for the clueless’ or ‘accelerant for the creative’? Marketing’s data future


By Sam Anderson | Network Editor

November 18, 2022 | 9 min read

Current data conversations are dominated by disappearing cookies and replacement first- and zero-party strategies. But what about the future? For The Drum’s Data & Privacy Deep Dive, we asked 10 experts from The Drum Network how data’s role in marketing will mature.

Two people walking down a futuristic-looking hallway

How will data’s role in marketing change? / Tom Parkes via Unsplash

Joel Coppersmith, global director of measurement and effectiveness, Assembly

The future of data is the same as its past. Data is a crutch and a veil for the clueless, but it’s an accelerant and a driver of change and insight for those who have creativity and connection to their consumers.

Yuka Uchijima, head of insight and research, Ogilvy UK

There’ll be a shift toward looking for the most relevant datasets. It’s not necessarily true that more is more and bigger is better, or that we should be just hungry for every source of data. Big data is still important, but it’s the most relevant data points that will help us answer the questions that we need to be answered, move brands, tell stories and innovate. It will all be about refining our datasets to answer the right questions.

Nathan Hugenberger, chief technology officer and executive vice-president of science, Known

Marketers need to be data connoisseurs. They need to understand the data points, the data models and the data sources, and sort through which are actually relevant to the decision at hand and which aren’t.

‘Data’ is a powerful term. When you use the term ‘data’ in a meeting, it can make decisions happen, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve used the right data point to answer the question. It’s a powerful weapon that needs to be wielded thoughtfully. That requires marketers to understand the data in a way that they sometimes don’t. We need to be thoughtful consumers of the data.

Thierry Ngutegure, head of insight, Journey Further

Data needs to go back to what it was created for: the ultimate truth teller, getting rid of our historic ‘forcing a square peg into a round hole’ narrative. Data’s role needs to be stopping us from obsessing over short-term optimization. We’re optimizing to death; it’s at a point where I’m optimizing my sleep. It’s getting chaotic, but there’s an opportunity for us to take a step back and experiment.

Carly Longo, senior manager, technology strategy, Merkle

The greatest challenge is not overcoming the death of third-party cookies and data privacy; it’s more about how we harness the value of customer data. It’s both our industry’s greatest challenge and opportunity; right now we have an opportunity to establish a foundational set of common KPIs, privacy and governance principles; we can then start to decentralize more of the ownership of data across organizations (and across technologies) to allow businesses to get the greatest value out of customer data.

Shelley Pisarra, executive vice-president, Wasserman

Data is not going anywhere and it’s going to be up to us how we use it. We’re going to have to get really comfortable with revisiting our business objectives, considering what we’re trying to get the consumer to do, and forcing more discussions as organizations and brand leaders about what we’re trying to accomplish.

All these recent challenges have forced us to go back to the drawing board and think more about what we’re trying to do. If we use the data to keep us honest and on track, we’ll find we can use a lot less data and can be sharper in our objectives. That means using data in a very transparent way, debunking myths, being true to measurement and not being afraid of optimization. There’s so much currency that exists in the world of marketing and consumer connection that’s rooted in data – we just need to help folks sift their way through it and assign purpose to it.

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

The Drum Insider

Once a month

Learn how to pitch to our editors and get published on The Drum.

Rebecca Fell, marketing strategist, Rawnet

Now’s the perfect time for us to use data fully to our advantage. It’s a chance for us to call clients who are trying to jump on the data and optimization bandwagons, who are trying to think trend-first, and get them to sit down and think about what they need to use this data for. In the long run, it’s going to help us not waste time and resources trying to get all the data and all the information at once. We can streamline that process: problem-data-solution, rather than wanting to know all the answers at once.

Aleksandra Semenenko, data science senior manager, Artefact

Data can confuse you; it can drive you to the point of not understanding anything and making bad decisions. Or data can solve all your problems. Right now, we’re somewhere in between. We have to come back to the whiteboard and define where we’re going. What are our targets? What do we believe about our businesses? Once we’ve defined that, then we can use data to support or reject our hypotheses. Data is always a support. I don’t think that data is the ultimate driver, because we’re drowning in it.

Anita Klinkosz, digital strategist, Search Laboratory

I hope we’ll see changes in the ways that we collect data and what data we collect, pivoting to the ‘why’ rather than simply the ‘what.’ What’s important is the way that we use data. We’ll rely much more on model data to fill in the gaps, and to understand trends and behaviors that are driving performance.

Stephen Hartman, digital marketing consultant, DRPG

Data tells a story. It’s the transparency behind that story that now becomes ever clearer as we break down what’s required. At the moment, you can make things say what you need them to say to support a cause. But the more we look at the value and quality of data, the more we can get transparently behind it; you can’t just hide behind figures for the sake of hiding behind figures, but wear them on your sleeve.

How can we start to mold conversations to offer more each time, rather than just giving big, generic datasets to support a cause? I hope we’ll see a shift toward looking at whole journeys and the full funnel; how each individual data point can be affected by little elements. Sure, you can optimize things to death. But if you optimize things with purpose, it doesn’t mean changing everything. It means making the changes that you need to make.

For more on how the world of data-driven advertising and marketing is evolving, check out our latest Deep Dive.

Marketing Business Leadership Data & Privacy

Content created with:


Ad Age's Purpose-Led Agency of the Year. We're the modern alternative, bringing together data, talent, and tech to find the change that fuels growth.

Find out more

Ogilvy UK

Ogilvy is all about depth and breadth - we have London's broadest and deepest skillset in communications our award-winning teams work fluidly across our core capabilities Advertising Brand & Content, Experience, PR and Influence. And we have the UK's largest dedicated team of award-winning behavioural scientists in-house.

Learn more about Ogilvy’s capabilities at

Find out more


Known is a modern marketing company that pairs Ph.D. data scientists with award-winning creatives, expert research teams and strategists who leverage machine learning, AI and the company's proprietary media operating system, called Skeptic. Known is anchored by two decades of groundbreaking market research and data science capabilities, which uniquely empower our marketing strategy and acclaimed creative groups, who produce some of the most innovative, cutting-edge creative work in culture. The result? Marketing that is predisposed to succeed and be persistently optimized, directly impacting clients' bottom lines.

Find out more

Journey Further

Journey Further is a performance brand agency based in Leeds, Manchester, London and New York.

Designed to deliver Clarity at Speed for the world’s leading brands and ambitious start-ups, the agency connects clients directly with a senior team, working in real-time and with complete transparency to deliver previously unthinkable results.

Find out more


Merkle is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios.

The company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage.

With 13,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 50+ additional offices throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Merkle is a dentsu company. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit

Find out more


Wasserman is a global sports, entertainment, and lifestyle marketing agency with expertise in creating connections between brands, properties, talent, and consumers.

Find out more


Rawnet is a digital agency that defines, designs, delivers and drives strategic products and services that create a long-term positive impact.

By combining customer engagement with business efficiencies, creating a justified return on investment for its clients. The agency’s fast-paced yet detailed immersion into its client’s business allows the team to understand key objectives.

Equipped with this knowledge, they can provide quality, scalable digital solutions to develop a customer-centric experience, whilst diving into internal systems to innovate and future proof client’s digital products.

Find out more


We are Artefact - a data consulting and digital marketing agency with a global footprint. We'll transform data into value for your business.

Find out more

Search Laboratory

Driven by evidence and led by transparency, we search for the truth in data.

Search Laboratory is a team of digital marketers and data scientists dedicated to growth generation. Combining data science with intricate digital strategies, Search Laboratory identifies the questions that bring data to life, allowing them to make decisions that drive profitable growth for its clients.

Search Laboratory is one of only a handful of Google Marketing Platform Sales Partners trusted to offer expert implementation, training and ongoing support for the platform's advanced suite of tools.

We are proud to be part of Havas Media Group. The group’s expertise in large-scale media experiences enhances our own performance marketing and data science specialisms to create an offering that spans the whole customer journey for our clients.

Find out more


DRPG is one of the longest established, trusted and uniquely integrated communication and production specialists, famous for making anything possible as we connect people, build brands and help grow organisations worldwide. We are recognised for creating highly engaging internal, external and experiential communications, producing award winning live events and exhibitions, compelling film and video, intuitive digital solutions and visually striking design-led print. Our facilities in the Midlands include 4.2 acres of creative and production facilities, 8 fully equipped edit suites, 3 state-of-the-art studios, digital innovation labs, a dedicated print facility, 3D projection cinema, construction centre and contemporary design suite. Making it the largest corporate communication facility in the UK. We also have offices in Leeds, Windsor, Covent Garden and this year also opened in Cologne, St. Louis, Dublin and Belfast. We work with a large and diverse range of leading companies and brands from the automotive, retail, public, transport, telecoms and financial sectors to name to just a few. From the very beginning of any project, we make one simple promise to our clients; “anything’s possible”. It’s a promise which ensures that our work engages, inspires and excites the audience no matter their sensibility, size or seniority.

Find out more

More from Marketing

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +